NTSE 2020-21

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National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) was established by the Government of India in 1961 to improve quality education in India. The NCERT council started several programs towards assisting students and encouraging them to continue their studies. One such program was the National Science Talent Search Scheme (NSTSS). NTSE aims at identifying and nurturing talented students.

In 1963, this initiative was taken to award scholarship to talented students who are confined only to the Union Territory of Delhi. The scheme was extended to all states and union territories in the following years. The number of scholarships increased from 350 in 1964 to 500 in 1976. In 1983 the number of scholarships was extended to 750 with a provision of 70 scholarships, especially for SC/ST candidates.


National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) was conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) for identifying talented students; who want to pursue higher education in science and social studies streams. NTSE scheme was to award talented students by assisting them with financial aid to continue their education.

Exam nameNational Talent Search Examination
Exam nameNational Talent Search Examination
Commonly known asNTSE and STS
Conducted byRespective States/UT conducts State-level examination/NTSE stage 1. NCERT conducts national level or NTSE stage 2.
Exam levelNational level
Total scholarships2000
Scholarship amountRs.1250 per month for class 11-12 Rs.2000 per month for UG and PG level as per UGC norms for research level
Scholarship levelUp to PhD level
Exam modeOffline examination
Exam papersMental Aptitude Test (MAT) Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
Test duration120 minutes
Total exam centresFor NTSE 2020-21 stage I exam- all 29 states and 7 Union Territories. For NTSE 2020-21 stage II - 35 exam cities
Registration datesRegistration began in October 2020, and the last date of application is to be notified by respective State/UT separately.
Exam helpline for NTSE stage 2Phone number - 011-26560464 e-mail - ntsexam.ncert@gov.in

The exam selection procedure was based on a science aptitude test, an essay, a project report, and a personal interview. In 1964, it was changed to two objective type tests, namely the Mental Ability Test (MAT) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), followed by a face to face interview in 1976

During 1976, the exam was renamed to National Talent Search Scheme (NTSS) and was no longer confined to only basic sciences but was extended to social sciences, engineering, and medicine. Students of classes X, XI, and XII could appear for the exam. 

The program was decentralized in 1985 to extend its reach to far-reaching corners in India and was also confined to class X students. 

  • The Olympiad was divided into a two-tier process. The state-based educational bodies conduct the first level exam known as the State Level Talent Search Examination, and NCERT performs the second level.
  • Each state could recommend a stipulated number (as per state quota) of candidates. The national level examination is conducted for approximately 3000 students. The state and the union territory quota was computed based on the student enrolment at the secondary level.
  • The states and union territories had complete authority on the design of the exams and how they are conducted but are advised to follow the national pattern (MAT and SAT).
  • MAT section consists of 100 multiple choice questions, and the SAT section consists of 200 questions. Besides, the NTSE question paper also contains 25 multiple choice questions from any of the following languages.
OdiaPunjabiTamilTelugu and Urdu
  • Students could choose four out of these eight subjects and had to answer a total of 100 questions on the SAT.

  • Students who qualify for the exam conducted by NCERT are called to a face to face interview.

  • The scholarships are awarded based on scores in MAT, SAT, and their performance in the face-to-face interview.

NTSE 2020-21 stage 1 exam will be conducted in December 2020. Find out the NTSE 2020-21 exam schedule.

NTSE Important EventsNTSE 2021 Dates (Tentative)
Beginning of RegistrationOctober 2020 (differ for each state)
NTSE Registration Last DateNovember 2020 (differ for each state)
NTSE Stage 1 Admit Card DownloadDecember 2020 (first week)
NTSE 2020-21 stage 1 exam date for Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands12-Dec-20
NTSE 2020-21 stage 1 exam date for all states/UTs13-Dec-20
NTSE 2020-21 stage 1 result dateMar-21
NTSE 2020-21 stage 2 admit cardThe third week of April 2021
NTSE 2020-21 stage 2 exam dateTo be Announced
NTSE 2020-21 stage 2 resultsTo be Announced

The number of NTSE scholarships was raised from 750 to 1000 in the year 2000, with the provision of reservation for SC/ST candidates based on the national norms of 15% and 7.5%. The scholarship was shifted from class X to class VIII in 2007. The class VIII MAT and SAT consisted of 90 questions, each with 35 questions for social science, 35 for science, and 20 for mathematics in SAT.

Student enrollment in classes VII and VIII was the deciding factor for student’s quota for a state. Besides, parental income was removed as a factor for awarding the scholarship. Also, included three percent reservation for physically challenged students was introduced in 2008. Let’s look into some of the other changes made in the NTSE exam.

  • NTS exam was shifted to class X in 2013, and a language test (English/Hindi) was included as an additional component.
  • The language test score is not a deciding factor while deciding the final list and is only qualifying in nature.
  • Negative marking was introduced in 2014, with 1.3 marks were deducted for every wrong answer.
    • In 2014, the scholarship amount was changed to INR 1,250 per month for class XI and XII.
    • INR 2,000 per month for UG and PG.
    • Scholarship for students pursuing a PhD by UGC norms varies.
  • The minimum qualify mark was increased from 32% to 35% in 2015.
  • Reservation for physically challenged students was increased from 3% to 4% in 2017. 
  • E-admit cards were introduced in 2018 and can be downloaded from the NCERT website. 
  • A reservation of 27 percent was given to other backward classes (OBC).

Under the present scheme, the NTSE 2020-21 scholarships are awarded to the candidates for pursuing courses in science and social science up to the doctoral level and in professional courses like medicine and engineering up to second-degree level. It is in addition to all the latest details mentioned above.

The written examination shall consist of two papers,

  • Paper-I: mental ability test
  • Paper-II: scholastic aptitude test

The table below shows the NTSE exam procedure.

NTSE RegistrationStudents who are planning to avail NTSE 2020-21 scholarship should first register for the examination. NTSE registration will be processed under state-level supervision. Students who are selected will be able to appear for the national level exam and the interview.
NTSE SyllabusEach exam (both state and national level) is divided into two parts. NTSE exam includes the mental ability test and scholastic ability test. NTSE syllabus includes the subjects or topics under aptitude and analytical reasoning for MAT. At the same time, SAT exam questions will be from science, mathematics, and social sciences.
NTSE Admit CardStudents will get two NTSE hall ticket with one for each exam (state level examination and the national level examination). Students can get the state level examination hall ticket from the school or the State Liason Officer. The national level NTSE admit cards can be downloaded from the NCERT website.
NTSE ResultStudents can check the NTSE result on the NCERT website. Students will also get an email regarding the results. Students have to look for a merit list for both the national and state level exams.
NTSE ScholarshipFind out the updated information related to the NTSE scholarship. Get the eligibility criteria for higher secondary, second-degree level courses, and M.Phil./PhD stage.

NTSE 2021 Eligibility Criteria

There are certain conditions laid out by NCERT that one should keep in mind before applying for the exam. NTSE Eligibility Criteria for each stage differ. The detailed criteria are provided below.

  1. Candidates must be an Indian national.
  2. Candidates must be studying in class 10 in a recognized private or government school in India.
  3. Unemployed candidates below the age of 18, studying in class 10 from open or distance learning are also eligible to apply.
  4. States or UTs may lay down some more conditions such as minimum qualifying marks in the previous class, age limit etc.
  5. The aspirants will not be qualified for second stage if they will not meet the sectional cut off in stage 1 (even after meeting the overall cut off score).
  6. The Indian students (who are studying abroad), should send the attested copy of the class 9 mark sheet to the head of the Educational Survey Division, NCERT by 31st December 2020. 

Minimum Qualifying Score Needed in Class 9

StateMinimum qualifying Marks (For General Category)Minimum qualifying Marks (For Reserved Category)
Maharashtra60% marks55%
Uttar Pradesh55%44%
West Bengal50%40%
Madhya Pradesh40%32%
Tamil Nadu60%-
Jammu & Kashmir60%55%
Himachal Pradesh60%55%

NTSE Qualifying Score

CategoryQualifying Marks in SATQualifying Marks in MAT
Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes/ Physically Handicapped.32%32%
General/ Economically weaker Sections/ OBC40%40%

NTSE 2021 Reservation Criteria

There are provisions of reservation in NTSE 2021 as per government of India norms:

CategoryReservation Percentage
Scheduled Caste (SC)15%
Scheduled Tribe (ST)7.50%
Other Backward Classes (OBC)27%
Persons with Disabilities (PWD)4%
Economically Weaker Section (EWS)10%

NTSE 2021 Exam centres

NTSE 2021 exam is conducted in various states and union territories. Candidates have to indicate their preferred exam centre at the time of filling up NTSE Application Form. Address of the allotted exam centre will be mentioned on the admit card. Below is the list of exam centres for NTSE 2021 examination:

States/ UTsExam Centre Venue
Andaman & Nicobar IslandsKV No 2, Raksha Vihar, Minnie Bay
Andhra PradeshKV, Gandhi Gram Post, Malkapuram, Visakhapatnam
Arunachal PradeshKV No 2, Itanagar, Chimpu Post, Arunachal Pradesh
AssamKV CRPF 9 Mile Amerigog, Kamrup, Guwahati
BiharKV No 1, Lohiya Nagar, Near Heart Hospital, Kankarbagh, Patna
ChandigarhKV, ASF High Grounds, Chandigarh
ChhattisgarhKV No 2, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Nagar, Sector 4, Raipur
Dadra & Nagar HaveliKV, Government High School Campus, Silvassa
DelhiKV No 3, Ringroad, Near Seema Sadak Bhawan
GoaKV, INS Madovi, Panjim
HaryanaKV No 1, AFS, Sector 14, Old Delhi Road, Gurugram
Himachal PradeshKV, Dharamshala Cantt, Kangra
Jammu & KashmirKV No 1, Gandhinagar, Jammu
JharkhandKV CCL, Rajendra Nagar, Ranchi
KarnatakaKV, ASC Centre, Victoria Road, Bangalore, Karnataka
KeralaKV No 3, Port Trust, Willingdon Island, Kochi, Ernakulam
LakshadweepKV, Kavaratti
Madhya PradeshKV No 1, Opp Central India Flour Mill, Hoshangabad Road, Bhopal
MaharashtraKV, Bhandup, LBS Marg, Kanjurmarg West
MaharashtraKV, BEG, Near Deccan College, Pune
ManipurKV No 1, Lamphelpat, Imphal
MeghalayaKV, Happy Valley, Shillong
MizoramKV, Project Pushpak Zemabawk, Aizawl
NagalandKV, CRPF Camp, Lerie Hill, Kohima, Nagaland
OdishaKV No 1, Unit 9, Near Ram Mandir, Bhubaneswar
PuducherryKV, IIT Campus, Chennai
PunjabKV, ASF High Grounds, Chandigarh
RajasthanKV No 1, Bajaj Nagar, Opp Tonk Phatak, Jaipur
SikkimKV, Post Tadong, Middil, Siyari, Gangtok
Tamil NaduKV, IIT Campus, Chennai
TelanganaKV No 1, Langer House, Golconda, Hyderabad
TripuraKV (GC) CRPF, Adarani, Salbagan, Agartala
UttarakhandKV ONGC, Kaulagarh Road, Dehradun
Uttar PradeshKV, Lucknow Cantt
Uttar PradeshKV, New Cantt, VD Road, Allahabad
West BengalKV, Ballygunge, Circular Road, Kolkata

NTSE 2021 Cut off

Cut off marks are the minimum marks that are required by candidate to clear the examination. The cut off marks will be declared by the respective states. The final cut off mark will be declared by NCERT after the completion of stage 2 examination. NCERT publishes category wise and subject wise cut off marks.

The factors affecting the state wise cut off marks are as follows:

  • Students appearing in the exam
  • Difficulty level of the paper
  • Marking scheme
  • Number of seats available

Category wise cut off marks

CategoriesTotal Score of MAT and SAT CutoffMaximum marks out of 197 of MAT, SAT
General- PH1111144
General- PH278124
General- PH3101131
SC- PH171113
SC- PH28787

Subject wise cut off marks

Test PapersMaximum MarksQualifying Percentage
ST/ SC/ PHGeneral
Paper I MAT49*35% (17.15)40% (19.6)
Paper II English5035% (17.5)40% (20.0)
Paper II Hindi5035% (17.5)40% (20.0)
Paper III SAT96**35% (33.6)40% (38.4)
Total Marks14535% (50.75)40% (58)
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